Dunman Food Centre, big surprises in a little package
SINGAPORE: Anyone who walks past this hawker centre will definitely think that this is one of the smallest hawker centres in Singapore. With just 30 stalls spread over 2 levels, you wouldn't expect much, not to mention, there is minimal seating. Surrounded by hippy cafes and landed houses, this old dame seems to be out of place. But don't let its size fool you. You can find some really nice gems in this tiny place.
Dunman Food Centre is built around 1974, and it is also one of the oldest hawker centres in Singapore. The food centre takes its name from Dunman Road, named after Thomas Dunman, Singapore’s first superintendent of police.
Here are our top 6 stalls worth trying.
Say Seng Tau Kwa Pau
Anyone above 40 and who lives in the East of Singapore should have heard of Say Seng Famous Tau Kwa Pau. They used to be located at Hock Ann Coffeeshop, at the junction of Joo Chiat Road and East Coast Road, selling what might be the one and only Tau Kwa Pau. However, after moving around over the years, they have finally settled down at Dunman Food Centre.
The dish of deep-fried tofu stuffed with bits of deep-fried yam, egg, fishballs and cucumber. Drenched with the same braised sauce for the duck rice from the same stall and have it with their tangy chilli sauce. The soft silky tofu is perfect for a side dish for you to pair with the braised duck rice, or you can have it as a meal on its own.
Unfortunately, the ingredients for this unique dish has changed over the years. Missing the pork belly makes it not as good as before. Nevertheless, it is a dish worth preserving.
Dunman Road Char Siew Wanton Mee
I have a short write up about Dunman Road Char Siew Wan Ton Mee here. It is located on the second floor of the hawker centre.
For S$3.50, it is definitely one of my favourites. Within this hawker centre, there is not one but two competing wanton noodles. For Dunman Road Char Siew Wan Ton Mee, there are lovers and haters, competing not just within the hawker centre, but also with the Engs along Tanjong Katong Road. Therefore, it is down to personal preference, even though they are very similar to both Engs. Of course, it comes with the signature scorching bright red chilli sauce as well.
Joo Chiat Ah Huat Wanton Noodle
Like all good foodie locations, there must be competition! In this case, you have Joo Chiat Ah Huat Wanton Noodles located on the first floor splitting the wanton noodles fan base into two. You will get more al-dente noodles with a bite, but with the same cardboard char siew as what you get from Dunman Road Char Siew Wan Ton Mee on the second floor. While you get some lacklustre char siew, the noodles and the chilli make the difference. While chilli from Dunman Wanton Mee tends to have the taste of raw chilli, very spicy, the chilli from Joo Chiat Ah Huat is definitely cooked with dried shrimp giving it a dark red colour with red oil. Joo Chiat Ah Huat Wanton Noodles definitely gives you a run for your money.
An institution of the vadai world in Singapore. Gina's started back in 1987 has gone through many ups and downs over the years. On its heyday, you can spot a long queue of vadai fans getting this delicious oily Indian snack which many passionately know as the Indian doughnut. The prawn vadai and vegetarian vadai costs S$1, whereas the ikan bilis vadai is S$1.5. Gina's Vadai is not exactly the crispy and light, airy type, but it is heavier with more bite to it. This is the type of vadai I remember back in the 90s.
Bjaj Vadaj (aka Vadai)
A new kid on the block will be the third vadai stall between the hawker centre and the coffee shop next door. What can I say? People around Joo Chiat and Dunman must really love their vadai to warrant 3 stalls selling this Indian origin snack, yet distinctly different in texture. At Bjaj Vadaj, their vadai is the chewiest of all. Their vadai has lots of spring onions in it, making it lightly oniony.
Dunman Duckrice (Here for kway chap)
Another popular stall in the neighbourhood serving kway Chap. First taste of the soup in the bowl of noodles, you can't help but notice the use of spice and herbs, which is refreshing. You might even spot some wolfberries in it. As we didn't get the duck, the kway chap comes with pork belly, pork innards, pigskin, braised egg and tau pok. All of these is covered with some silky smooth braised sauce. We LOVE this Kway Chap. However, some might find this a tad salty.
Address: 271 Onan Rd, Singapore 424768